A blog and review on all things Sherry. It is about tasting, enjoyment and learning more about the World’s Finest Wine. "Sherry is a thoroughbred" as Javier Hidalgo rightly puts it. Included are the amazing local Brandies and the remarkably good table wines also produced in the province of Cádiz.
There are many interesting adornments to the
rooftops in Jerez, but perhaps the most charming are the large nests of the white
storks. These magnificent migratory birds normally arrived in Spain from equatorial
Africa to breed in February and March as the weather begins to warm up again. Roman
farmers took the arrival of the storks as a cue to plant their seeds. There
is an old Spanish saying: “por San Blas
la cigüeña verás, si no la ves mal año es.” (By Saint Blas’ day (3 February) you’ll see the stork, and if you don’t
it will be a bad year).
Global warming has rendered this saying outdated
and going to Africa unnecessary in recent years, as the birds can find
sufficient sustenance in Spain. Many still work their way north stopping off at
the Coto Doñana for a rest and some food before going back to the nests they
left behind which they reuse and often enlarge. Many however now stay in
Andalucía. As storks are seen as bringers of good luck, some bodegas encouraged
them by feeding them or building them nests, and certainly there are many nests
to be seen on bodega chimney-tops.
Once a building project was underway which
needed a crane, but in no time it was found that storks had started to build a
nest on its counterweight. The men removed the twigs but in no time they were
back again and then it was discovered that eggs had been laid and the job had
to wait till the chicks were born. Later netting was put on cranes, but the
tenacious storks sometimes managed to use it to help build the nest.
White storks are content near humans and nest
on buildings, pylons and chimneys but the rare black ones prefer places more
inaccessible to humans. The latter are listed as in danger of extinction though
they are being helped to breed at Jerez Zoo, some of whose keepers even built
artificial nests to encourage them. It is thought that there are now some fifty
pairs in Jerez, and let us hope they can bring some much needed good luck to the bodegas.